The changing of the guard occurs frantically around midnight, hordes of belching salarymen trying to hold the beer and gyoza down while mashing onto the crowded final Yamanote line train.
The trains inbound from the outskirts of Tokyo, by comparison, are far more peaceful – empty, even.
But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to bring more women into the workforce are falling short.
Challenging traditional gender roles can be an extremely unpopular move in Japan, where many people still support the idea that a woman's place is at home.
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Many of them "strongly believe that encouraging women to work reduces the birth rate, and leads to more divorce," said Machiko Osawa, a labor economist at Japan Women's University, who has long championed women's rights.
"That is one of the reasons why many politicians are reluctant to promote women working outside [the home]." Some experts argue, though, that a more equal share of bread-winning and housework duties between the sexes will mean happier men and women -- and therefore, more babies. Both rank among the top 20 in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap index and boast fertility rates far higher than that of Japan, which ranks 101st out of 145 countries on the index.
Setsuya Fukuda, a demographer at the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, points to the Netherlands and the U. But as Japanese officials can attest, getting people to couple up is no easy matter.
Nearly all local governments in the country are trying to play matchmaker these days.